Saturday, September 15, 2007

So. Where in the World Has k Run Off To Now?

Why - here I am! At the beautiful McLain State Park, on the Keewenaw Peninsula, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Smack dab in the middle of Lake Superior.

I'm way behind on my posting. This place is so remote there's no cell phone service and very little internet access. I can get on, some, from the friendly Coffee Cabin in Houghton, but one doesn't want to wear out one's welcome.

So I'll be posting *catch-up* posts for a while, as I can. I should be REALLY online again Monday, back at the folk's house, where I'll stay for several days before heading back to Florida.

It's too damn cold here. We've had freeze and snow warnings, and my Florida car is anything but winterized. I'm also completely out of money, so I can't keep paying to stay at my beautiful campsite.

Besides, very early this morning night I had a Bear Experience.

A small bear, I'm sure.

However, when all you have between you and Bear is a flimsy tent - and when you know that once a bear's found something to eat, it's likely to return the next night - it's time to move on.

Now I'll put up the first post I wrote from McLain, and hopefully, will keep catching up.


Monday, September 3, 2007

I’ve arrived at a campground in Michigan’s UP, the Upper Peninsula. I’m in mining country here. Copper, mostly.

And agates.

Yes. As it happens, this beautiful place is just chock full of them.

I came in late last night. To my surprise I found my site was right on Lake Superior. It didn’t used to be, and they didn’t update the map on their website, so I wasn’t expecting this treat. See, there was another line of campsites between my site and the lake.

That was before part of the cliff fell into the lake. heh!

See the road blocked off? And the campsite number in front?

There's no Campsite 93 any more. That's because it fell in the lake.

Now the paved road is blocked, and the road on the left is just graded.

Here's where they shored up the cliff with rocks in a wire net.

And here's where it went and peeled off. OOOPS!

Here's a closer look. The edge of the old paved road kind of falls off on the right.

I went to sleep last night lulled by the sound of the surf. I had no idea how much I’d missed that sound of home.

More than one of my docs would be horrified to know I’m camping. The opportunity for injury or infection is way higher. Try as you like, it’s just not easy keeping sterile in camping conditions. Not to mention, I’m by myself.

I don’t care.

I love to camp. I missed my trip to the Fossil Farm this year because I was too sick to go, fresh out of the hospital with that lung infection. Missing the annual Fossil Farm trek broke my heart. I haven’t missed it from the first time I ever went, years ago.

Some say it’s too dangerous for a woman to camp all alone. They point out that I have no gun and no dog or husband with me.

I don’t care.

I love to camp, and I’m not going to put off having my fun this way any longer.

The campground here is beautiful. My tent is big enough for me, 8’ x 9’. It’s only about 4’ tall, but here’s where being Height Challenged comes in handy.

Modern camping is a hoot. The state parks in Michigan, at least, are full of sites that provide electricity.



I bought a little surge protector for a few bucks, just to give me more outlets. Six, now. One has an extension cord plugged in. That cord has 3 outlets itself, giving me 8 total. It’s not quite enough for all my plug-in needs, but I’m making do. ;-)

Here’s what gets connected:
Espresso maker
Microwave oven
Toaster oven
Electric toothbrush
CPAP (two cords for that)
Back massager
Charger for the car battery jumper
Camera charger
Cell phone charger
Scooter charger
AA/AAA battery charger

The campground also has a little restroom/shower building. Indoor plumbing, there. Hot running water.

This isn’t considered a really *modern* campground. There’s no laundry facility or rec room or ice machine.

But it’s a far cry from the camping I did as a child. Even the outhouses don’t stink any more.

Weird, huh?

This camping jaunt was completely unplanned. But…so was spending the entire summer away from home. I left all my camping things in Florida, but I did bring my sleeping bag. I had to buy a tent, but my old one was busted anyway. I don’t have a lamp, but the light from the microwave and the laptop is enough. I’m never without at least one or two flashlights. Walter loves to get them for me, and I love to have them.

Livey gave me an old microwave oven she had for sale ($5) in her garage sale inventory, something she’d picked up for free. She lent me her toaster oven too, since she dislikes it and never uses it herself. It works just great for me here. And if it gets cold at night? All I have to do is turn on the toaster oven for a few minutes. It has an automatic shutoff after 15 minutes. In 15 minutes it warms up the whole tent, and if I fall asleep, it shuts itself off.

Camping this way just cracks me up. I tried to explain to Walter that this is NOT *roughing it.* I’m still not sure if he really understands what I mean.


Jan said...

Well, k, you little rascal! So there you are, and sounds like you're having a great time!

Beware of the bears, and other varmints!

Have you found any petoskey stones around there? Those are the most amazing little things to me. We used to collect those around Traverse City..but maybe they are not as plentiful as they were a few years ago.

It's good to hear from you!

pepektheassassin said...

K, where there's a small bear, there is usually a BIG bear hiding in the bushes!

Manoman, you really ARE a gypsy. It has been years and years since I went camping...maybe I'd like it better now, I mean, with electricity and hot water and all.

btw, in Florida, do you live close enough to the ocean to hear the waves?

I am really glad you have had such a happy vacation. Stay well, my friend!

Nancy said...

I don't think I've ever seen or heard of anyone camping with a microwave. Only you, my dear K!!

Have fun and.....oh hell. Just have fun.


Livey said...

so did ya see the bear?!

sue said...

There you are! Oh, what fun... Yeah, that really isn't "roughing it", but sounds like quite the adventure. Good for you!

prettylady said...

I had some friends that camped with the kitchen sink, but even they didn't have a microwave.

You are tougher than we are; we brought our camping gear to Maine for the weekend, but the rain and the fact that my parents reserved us a motel room without asking turned us into wimps. But the bed was awfully uncomfortable.

Glad to see you back!

k said...

Jan, you amaze me! You see why I wanted you to blog so badly? That eclectic set of interests and experiences is a repeating theme among all my fave bloggers.

Yes, I sure did get some petosky stones. In fact, had things come together, I would have driven through the town of Petosky, MI (just N of Traverse City, of course) on the way home. I still may go through there this trip.

I collected an amazing amount of fossil agatized coral in Door County, WI. It's much more plentiful there than on the Keewenaw. Some is petosky, some is other varieties of coral. All of it is beautiful indeed. Some is the typical silvery gray of petosky, some is rose or yellow colored - and boy oh boy would I love to polish that.

Oh, it's so good to be back!

miss assassin, that's one reason I was VERRRRYYY quiet. Very. Very very quiet.

As it happens, the poor thing appears to be mama-less, at the ripe old age of 1 or 2. That's too young for a bear to be mama-less.

Oh yes, that gypsy spirit is in my blood, for sure. Yet since I'm really not in a condition to camp rough, the electricity was a deciding factor. And HOT SHOWERS! hee hee!

Even so, what little "rough" there was led me to really appreciate what my mother, and father too, went through when they took us camping as kids.

I'm around 2 miles from the beach in Florida. So I do have to actually go to the shore to hear the waves. But the salt is in the air all the time, and the smell of the beach usually is too. And, somehow, the pull of the tides.

I'm not able to walk on the sand very well any more, though I do make some short and occasional beach-hopping jaunts. And unless I get some kind of stabilizing contraption for Poor Mr. Foot, taking him swimming is verboten, more or less. Too much risk of cooking up the infection again, overusing him. (Happened right after I got my first wet suit and flippers, too, that. grrrrrr MRRRRRSA! GRRRR!)

I am so glad to have done this. What a TREAT!

Oh, Nancy, I never thought I would see the day. A MICROWAVE?!? Not to mention the espresso maker and toaster oven. And I didn't take any pix of the inside of the tent, oh nooo! It cracked me up every time I even looked at it.

Oh, it was great.

Livey, you know, the first night all I had to do was open up the tent flap and look at him. But me? No. No, I went and chickened out and hid, all quiet as a mouse. ha! Thought I was tough enough, didja? See, now I went and blew my cover. ;-)

Yeah, Sue, the only thing that was a bit rough was the lack of internet connection. By the end of the trip I had it down pretty good - write the post in the tent, save it in Word, go to the coffeeshop between 6AM and 7PM (but closed on Sunday), buy an oatmeal cookie, and post. Next time I go there I'll be all organized up for it, and you'll see me posting like a madwoman, all while, ah, Roughing It.

Pretty Lady - the kitchen sink? Literally? What on earth for? Did they have a toaster oven? Espresso maker? Electricity - maybe that was the key?

Because I can't have my morning espresso right without nuking the 0% organic milk and the extra heavy whipping cream first. See? Not to mention, making tea is just SO much easier for me via microwave. Or a nice bowl of refried beans with huge handfuls of fresh grated parmesan, or soft tortillas wrapped around some extra sharp cheddar, or...are you still tired of menus? excuse please!

The bed in the tent, or in the motel? heh!

It wasn't rough. Not at all. Even the rain wasn't a real problem.

The only difficulty was balancing the stack of pillows, because there was no hard wall to shore them up. Those are the Foot Pillows, which rise a good 2-3' in the air, and keep my feet elevated as I sleep or lay around reading or writing.

But even that worked itself out after a bit. The best way was to ditch part of the pillow stack, and use the cooler instead, with some of the upper pillows on top of the cooler. That was more stable.

There are times when a motel room is infinitely preferable. For two people, that tent would have been too small. (Especially with all the appliances, of course.)

And yet, the cover said it slept 3-4 people. It even had a little diagram of them, showing you how it worked.

I suspect they may have been tiny little Chinese folks, busy working at the tent factory, filling those Walmart orders. They probably would have fit just fine.

Jan said... are more of a treasure than any diamond or gemstone anywhere around!

I'm laughing at the visual you just put in my head about the tiny little Chinese could be true, you know? :)